A kind of
I want to break free! One of the great, great hits of the great, great band – Queen. And what better place to break free than Cornwall? That’s certainly what the legendary band’s drummer Roger Taylor thinks and he should know, he grew up here, writes Bern
ornwall is a land all of its own,’ says Roger who now lives in Surrey but keeps a home near Helford. ‘I was actually born in Norfolk which is another lovely area but moving to Cornwall when I was about seven was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me.
‘There is a great sense of freedom in Cornwall and a great place to grow up. We moved to Truro which I still think is a fantastic place and at the centre of everything. I went to Bosvigo School at first and we actually started a band there. My cousin had a ukulele and I was allowed to have a go at it. I couldn’t really get into it but I did like making a noise and I used to mess about on upturned saucepans with my mum’s knitting needles. That’s how I started playing drums.
‘Bands and then groups were a big thing in those days so I thought it would be good to form a band among some of us at Bosvigo, we even had a first gig at a school dance. We were called the Bubblingover Boys and we were more of a skiffle group than anything else because our instruments were a mixed bunch and we couldn’t really play. I’d like to say we were an overnight success but we weren’t.
‘I did like music though and it was discovered that I had a decent voice so I was enrolled with the Truro Cathedral School and found myself singing in the choir. I didn’t really like that very much because there was a difference between wanting to sing and having to sing.
‘The Bubblingover Boys quickly became a thing of the past and instead I was in the choir and singing three times on Sundays and on special occasions. It was probably good for me really but I just had no real desire to be a choirboy.’
‘He found himself at Truro School thanks to a scholarship which meant he went there for free. ‘It was a great experience,’ he says.
‘I was more and more into music and especially I was fascinated by drums. I actually found an old snare drum and I was thrilled to bits. My Dad helped me do it up a bit and I had my very own drum. Gradually that was added to and I drove everyone crazy by spending as much time as possible playing my drums.’
Another band soon followed, this time called the Cousin Jacks. ‘I still messed about with guitars and I was the band’s rhythm guitarist for a while until it was discovered that I would be more useful on drums.
‘After that came Johnny Quale and the Reaction. We entered a local talent show and came fourth which was not great but good enough to get a load of bookings…’ And when Johnny suddenly left Roger took over as lead singer and as Reaction entered that same competition and won. This brought more bookings and he says, ‘a bit of interest from London’.